With the continuous rise of Christian Nationalism and our religious freedom actively under attack in this country, I wanted to take some time to talk freedom of religion and why I believe it is one of the most important rights enshrined in the United States Constitution. And why people from all religions and none should take it seriously.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The founders considered it so important that it was in the Bill of Rights and part of the First Amendment.
Benjamin Franklin when editing the draft of the Declaration of Independence changed the original wording from “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” to “We hold these truths to be self-evident” It could be argued with that one phrase Franklin placed United States on a secular foundation. Is there anything more empowering than having self-evident truths? Our very freedom is founded on that proposition.
Phrases like “Under God” and “In God We Trust” were added to the pledge of allegiance and currency in the 1950s. Over 150 years after the nation’s founding, and largely to emphasize the distinction between the atheistic Soviet Union and the United States.
There are several major Religious Freedom cases before the Supreme Court this session. Obviously, the future of Roe v. Wade which could result in abortion being banned across the country which appears more likely with the leaked draft opinion. And Kennedy v. Bremerton School District where a public high school football coach lost his job after repeatedly praying on the 50-yard line. Students felt pressured to pray with him due to his position of authority.
Christians in particular have taken the line “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and are using it to weaponize Religious Freedom into Religious Privilege. They see equality, the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights, consequences for using your position of power to push prayer, and of course a woman having the freedom to decide her own course in life as an infringement on their freedom to exercise religion. And because they do not believe in these things, they want to erase these very freedoms from existence.Continue reading